Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Comic Review: Octopus Pie

Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran (There are no stars in Brooklyn (2010), and Listen at home (2011))

I got both the Octopus Pie books at the same time, which you saw a while ago if you follow me on Twitter (@lunavalse). I have seen her at a number of cons on panels and found her interesting. She has an interesting take on the web comic. She waits until a whole story line is complete (they aren’t super long) and then posts the whole thing at once. As a reader, I am not a fan of this style but that is because I am a horrible creature of habit and like to check my web comics on a set schedule by day of the week.

Anyways, I saw a comic of hers that someone linked to, Sarah Beacon on Sauceome if I remember right – I think it was a comic about peeing on a bike or something, but that sounds gross and not quite right. Anyways, I saw the comic and laughed really hard and went home and bought the books.
Octopus Pie is about a post college girl, Eve Ning, and her friends. Eve is so snarky so I quite enjoy her. Actually, she story style reminds me a lot of Questionable Content. Eve even reminds me of Faye a bit. So we follow them through their lives and they are about where I am now, or actually a few years ago, so it is really relatable for me. Hannah, an acquaintance from preschool, ends up moving in with her and they become friends. She is quite active and an instigator of lots of the commotion in the stories. Eve seems like she would quietly sit about her apartment at all times without the hyper Hannah to get her off her butt (like me). Hannah’s beau, Marek, is a great counter piece to Hanah, help provide a ground point for her. Hannah appears to still be in college, but it doesn’t come up.

The first book was more like a long meandering story even though they both have chapters. I think I noticed the chapter sections more in book 2 because she also included text describing the story: her forethoughts and afterthoughts. This included answer some questions and responding to comments that readers had when the story was originally published online. Nothing specific, but just general responses to trends she noticed, like explaining confusing points and characters.

Over the course of the first book – the art style changes. It starts out very smooth and exact. I am assuming this is digital inking. It looks great. Then towards the end, there is a story that changes to a reedy style, perhaps a nib pen. The lines are jagged and less precise. Then the next story switched to a thicker more varied line. I would guess a brush. These are probably horrible guesses but they have the looks I associated with each of those tools. I prefer the original style, but the final style she seems to have ended on is still nice.
Regardless of her line style, her character design is fun and varied. The characters have a wide range of sizes and genders and backgrounds and it is really fun to watch them all interact and piss each other off and have fun together.

I pounded through these two books in about 4 days (I did other stuff too). I adored them and I am so sad they are over. I can’t wait for the next one, whenever that will be. I want more even months later. More!! I definitely recommend these. You can even read them for free on her website, but if you like them, you should buy something from her because they are so great. She’s also got posters and shirts.

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